Public engagement describes the ways in which the activity and benefits of education and research in the School of Psychology are shared with the public. Engagement is a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.
Members of the School of Psychology are very active in organising events and showcasing our research at various different public science festivals and one-off science events.
Our researchers ran around eight separate events and demonstrations at the most recent European Researchers’ Night (LiGHTS). We have also run public events at venues such as Skegness Aquarium, and the Natural History Museum in London.
We keep in close contact with local schools and are happy to give one-off talks in schools about the science of psychology and the brain.
If you are interested please get in touch with Dr Fenja Ziegler who co-ordinates public engagement activities in the School.
We are always looking for people over the age of 18 and younger than 90 years old to take part in our research studies. We investigate a range of topics, including how we see, how we remember things, how we make decisions, how we change as we get older, how we pay attention to things around us, how our attitudes are formed and many more.
Students at the University of Lincoln can register an account on our SONA experiment management system and book into any studies you are eligible for and interested in.
Members of the public and members of staff at the university who are interested in taking part in our studies please contact Dr Fenja Ziegler.
Our youngest volunteers (babies and infants) are invited to the Lincoln Baby Lab which runs studies with infants throughout the year.
Summer Scientist is an annual event that is one of the university’s largest public engagement activities.
It was first established in 2010 by Dr Fenja Ziegler at the University of Lincoln and is currently lead by Dr Niko Kargas. Dr Ziegler said: "One of our aims in the School of Psychology is to bring the wonder of psychology to the community. Summer Scientist is an excellent opportunity for us to demonstrate what psychology is all about, as well as give our academics and students the opportunity to complete research data collection."
Each year, we run a Summer Scientist week for children aged three to ten years and over the years it is becoming increasingly popular. Our event offers an inclusive environment where children coming from different backgrounds and having different interests have the opportunity to partake in a variety of fun activities and research studies while at the same time learn about human development and behaviour.
Also, academic researchers from across the university work alongside selected second-year psychology students on data collection throughout the week. It is an opportunity for students to work on real and cutting-edge psychological research that is a step up from their course based studies. This offers students a great opportunity to gain dedicated experiment base experience. The findings of these projects are used to inform real academic research and are published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Dr Kargas says "It is a great opportunity for us to share and hopefully transmit our passion for learning and love for psychology to our Summer Scientist guests, as well as to inspire them to become the next generation of psychologists. Also, it offers a way for us to involve the community in the work we do as a university."
Each year we welcome more and more children to Summer Scientist, including many who have attended the event in previous years. The most recent event welcomed around 300 children and if we include their families, we had over 800 attendees. Future events will feature many new academic research projects investigating topics such as the development of altruism, language, motor control, risk behaviours, sensory perception, cognition, and interactive educational technologies.
For regular updates on our next event and activities you can follow us on:
Computer Game Could Improve Sight of Visually Impaired Children
Visually impaired children could benefit from a revolutionary new computer game being developed by a team of neuroscientists and game designers at Lincoln.
There are around 25,000 children in Britain – equating to two children per 1,000 – with a visual impairment of such severity they require specialist education support. The causes of blindness in children are extremely varied, but cerebral visual impairment (damage to areas of the brain associated with vision, rather than damage to the eye itself) is among the most common.
Researchers from the Schools of Psychology and Computer Science are working with staff and children from the WESC Foundation specialist centre for visual impairment education based in Exeter.
The game will use principles derived from existing programmes used with adults, whereby patients have to search for hard-to-find objects on a computer screen (a ‘visual search’ task), but the game will be modified to make the task more stimulating and fun for children and structured to maximise the efficiency of learning.
Timothy Hodgson, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, will lead the project. He says: “Previous research has shown that visual search training can lead to significant recovery of sight following damage to visual centres of the brain in adults.
The problem is these training programmes are just too boring to use with children.
“Our game will be a fun computer-based tool which will benefit children with visual field loss-holes in their vision due to damage to the brain’s visual pathways.
“This is an exciting research project which brings together expertise from diverse disciplines and puts this knowledge into practice in a way that could make a real difference to the quality of life of visually impaired children.”
Working alongside Professor Hodgson is Dr Conor Linehan, a specialist in computer game development based in the School of Computer Science. And Dr Jonathan Waddington, an experienced computational neuroscientist, who will be based at WESC for the duration of the two-year project. Financial support for the project is provided by the Technology Strategy Board and the UK’s Medical Research Council.
Tracy de Bernhardt Dunkin, Principal and CEO at the WESC Foundation, says:
“This is a tremendously exciting development for WESC and the culmination of five years’ work to introduce learning and research around neurological visual impairment. We are delighted to be employing our first visual neuroscientist, supervised by the University of Lincoln.”